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Davis Journal

Artisan Ice Cream comes to downtown Bountiful

Mar 02, 2021 11:21AM ● By Gail Newbold

Mario Harper and his wife Lindsay quietly opened the door to Blacksmith Ice Cream on Bountiful’s Main Street two years ago without any fanfare—then or now. So, it’s not surprising that many local residents haven’t experienced the joy of eating homemade fresh raspberry or Campfire S’mores ice cream, to name just a few of the artisan flavors Harper has created.

He admits to never advertising. He doesn’t have a website or Facebook page, choosing to rely instead on getting the word out through his Instagram account.

“A lot of people walk by and don’t even realize we’re an ice cream shop,” he said. “Our customers have all been word of mouth. But we’ve grown a lot and are expecting a crazy summer. Last summer we had a hard time keeping up with demand.”

Instead of putting his energy into marketing, Harper prefers studying books about ice cream and reading up on high-profile national ice cream brands he admires like Salt & Straw and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. And of course, making the ice cream. Inspiration for his flavors comes from reading, walking around grocery stores and lots of experimenting. 

“I try new stuff all the time,” he said. “We have no culinary background so we started from the ground up. Sometimes we’ll tweak a flavor for a month before we put it out.”

Fresh raspberry is probably Blacksmith Ice Cream’s most popular flavor. “We don’t mess around with that too much,” he said. “It’s real pure. Most people use raspberry jams or syrups, but we take the straight fruit, macerate it, blend it, and put it in the ice cream with a hint of lemon, salt and vanilla.”

Other customer favorites are Campfire S’mores with a burnt marshmallow base, graham crackers and Stracciatella; brownies and chocolate; vanilla bean root beer float; and cinnamon roll with candied pecans and a homemade cream cheese frosting swirl, steeped for 24 hours.

Harper says he’s not sure how many flavors the shop has served up so far. “At least 20-25, but we’re young and adding new flavors all the time.”

As much as possible, he tries to use natural and local ingredients. He buys Brigham City peaches from Tagge’s, as well as local raspberries and blackberries, and honey from White Lake Farm in Midvale.

Before opening Blacksmith Ice Cream, Harper owned a successful ice cream shop in Buena Vista, Virginia, for three years. He sold it after learning Rocky Mountain Boutique on Bountiful’s Main Street was closing its doors and the space was available.

“I grew up in Bountiful,” he said, “and I like Main Street. I decided to try the same concept here that I’d been doing in Virginia, which was making rolled ice cream on cold Griddles.”

Originally, that’s all Blacksmith offered. Until Harper decided he wanted to try something different. He began making ice cream in batches and selling it in scoops.

“I like the flavor better in batches and I can offer more variety,” he explained. “We make the ice cream fresh every single morning on cold pans. As far as I know, we’re the only ones in the country making it on cold pans but selling it in scoops.”

Once you know Blacksmith is there, it’s hard to miss the charming exterior with its fresh green paint and wooden sign. The inside is welcoming with its blackboard hand-lettered menu, murals, café tables and hanging lights.

“We’ve been blessed to be open for a year before the pandemic and blessed we can dedicate ourselves to making ice cream and offering a good experience for everyone,” Harper said.